WHAT IS IT YOU PLAN TO DO...?

In 1992 Mary Oliver wrote the poem “The Summer Day” which ends with the acclaimed  lines, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

This exhibit seeks to explore that question.

One of the most important things about making art is that it involves exploration. An artist finds inspiration to make art by exploring things that interest her; that could involve things that she likes to look at; to do; to touch; to think about; to challenge or protest about. To convert that exploration into a piece of art, involves processing the visual, physical or emotional stimulus and converting it into something that previously didn’t exist i.e. “a work of art”. That act of exploration and making usually involves deep observing, touching, doing and thinking. The act of deeply doing these things is what interests me, because, in an age where we can scroll through hundreds of images in a minute and be digitally entertained in any moment of down time, are we losing the ability to, deeply, slowly, thoughtfully, explore and process the real world, and if so, how will this change us as humans?

The work in this exhibit has been created by artists who are exploring their world in various ways but all with the objective of understanding it better. Take the time to be with each piece, to deeply look and think about it, and afterwards consider taking the time to take notice of your world deeply and think about “what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

The Summer Day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
—Mary Oliver

Exhibit curated by: Liberty Blake

Resources

2021-2022 Traveling Schedule

Updated June 2021.